The Associated Press is reporting that a former General Motors engineer and her husband conspired to steal trade secrets about hybrid vehicles and use the information to make private deals with Chinese competitors, according to a federal indictment unsealed Thursday.
Shanshan Du and Yu Qin, both of Troy, were indicted on conspiracy and other charges. Federal officials also allege that in 2006 the couple drove to a dumpster behind a grocery store and Qin discarded plastic bags containing shredded documents in response to a subpoena seeking information on Millennium Technology and hybrids. The couple could face up to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to possess trade secrets and unauthorized possession, and up to 20 years on charges of wire fraud, in addition to fines up to $250,000.
The indictment says Du, who was hired at GM in 2000, purposely sought a transfer in 2003 to get access to hybrid technology and began copying documents by the end of that year.
In 2005, she copied thousands of documents, five days after getting a severance offer from the automaker, according to the indictment.
By that summer, Qin was telling people that he had a deal to provide hybrid technology to Chery Automobile, a GM competitor in China, the indictment says. He had set up his own company, Millennium Technology International.